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Court backs EU anti-dumping measures against Chinese solar panels

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Court backs EU anti-dumping measures against Chinese solar panels

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(LUXEMBOURG) - The EU's top court gave its backing Tuesday to anti-dumping duties imposed by the EU in respect of imports of solar panels and key components originating in and consigned from China.

The ruling by the General Court concerned anti-dumping duties imposed in 2013 by the EU Council. A Commission investigation had revealed that Chinese solar panels were being sold in Europe at well below their normal market value. Duties were imposed in order to mitigate the injury caused to the European industry by the unfair commercial practice known as 'dumping'.

On the same day, the Council also imposed definitive anti-subsidy duties (also known as countervailing duties) on imports of the same products. This was also the result of the investigation showing that Chinese undertakings exporting to Europe were receiving illegal subsidies, which were also seen as causing significant injury to EU solar panel producers.

26 companies affected by those duties (with an average rate of 47.7%) applied to the General Court for annulment of the corresponding anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures.

However, the Court's judgement has rejected all the applications and confirmed all the definitive duties set by the EU.

The EU institutions are deemed to have been right to consider that, in determining the normal value of the products concerned (solar panels) in the exporting country, the term 'exporting country' did not necessarily have to be defined in the same way for the entirety of the product, irrespective of its origin.

The EU institutions were also entitled validly to consider that, for cells and modules originating in and consigned from China and for modules originating in China but consigned from third countries, the exporting country corresponded to the country of origin (China), whereas, for modules consigned from China but originating in a third country, the exporting country corresponded not to the country of origin but to the intermediate country (also China).

The institutions' choice may be justified by their objective of examining the existence of potential dumping practices in China, and not in another country, which falls within the scope of their broad discretion.

The Court also considers that the EU institutions were entitled to view photovoltaic cells and modules as a single product.

The Court has rejected the argument that the rates of duties determined by the Council were excessive compared with what is necessary to remedy the injury caused to the EU industry by the dumped imports.

The Commission had carried out a detailed and comprehensive assessment of other possible causes of injury, such as, inter alia, imports from Taiwan, the reduction in support schemes in certain Member States, raw material prices, imports of cells and modules from China by EU producers or even the financial crisis.

The Court has found that the effect of those factors on the EU industry's situation were duly distinguished and separated from the injurious effects of the dumped imports, but that 'none of them were considered capable of breaking the causal link established between the dumped imports originating in and consigned from China and the significant injury suffered by the EU industry.'

Judgements in Case T-157/14 - JingAo Solar and Others v Council, in Joined Cases T-158/14 JingAo Solar and Others v Council, T-161/14 Yingli Energy (China) and Others v Council and T-163/14 Canadian Solar Emea and Others v Council, and in Cases T- 160/14 Yingli Energy (China) and Others v Council and T-162/14 Canadian Solar Emea and Others v Council


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